Thursday, August 27, 2009


After one grueling week training to work in the Writing Center, four of the gals in my program and I decided we needed a vacation and took off for Florida. We got up early Sunday morning, packed into my car, and drove almost an hour in the wrong direction before turning around and heading back to start from scratch. Along the way we played fun games like Count the Confederate Flags (about one for every backwoods cabin we spotted, when averaged) and Identify the Roadkill (mostly snakes). Once we were back on track and heading for Birmingham then Montgomery then Florida, we played a lot of Where the Hell is this Road, Oops Wrong Exit, and I Wonder if a Hurricane is Coming.

Five hours later, we found ourselves in Beaches (aka Grayton Beach). Lovely, lovely Beaches.

Our "cabin" turned out to be more like a condo-- two bedroom, one bath, one screened porch, one fully equipped kitchen, one ten minute walk from the beach. We ooh-ed and ahh-ed at the fishy decorations, dropped off our bags, and decided to walk down to the beach before dinner.

Oh, the beach. Storm clouds were rolling in, the waves choppy, the white sands growing blue in the dusk, the dune grasses swaying. And the water surprisingly warm. After we had all taken the edge off our craving for sea, sky, and sand castles, we headed over to a local seafood place for boiled shrimp and crab and a two-person folk band.

I won't say anything about the intoxicated evening which followed except: what happens in Beaches stays in Beaches.

Next day: long walk to get coffee, local shops all closed (what day is again? Monday? it a holiday?) circle back to campsite via beach (windy windy, shrieks of "ow" in unison whenever sand sprayed our bare legs, Faulkner--I mean Steinbeck--references) a drive to Seaside to shop for ingredients for dinner and more booze (all out), lunch and beer, another trip to the beach (sting rays spotted: 2), back home for showers, wine and beer and amazing risotto (thanks Dara!)

On Tuesday we all rose surprisingly early and went on walks to the beach to say goodbye. There was in inlet with a sign proclaiming "Beware of Alligators"--I walked up and down it hoping to catch a glimpse, even thought about dipping my toe in as bait, but nothing. Guess I'll save the gators for later.

As a last hoorah we had breakfast at "Another Broken Egg," apparently a tourist trap as the food was mediocre but expensive. Then another five hour drive, much more subdued this time, through spotty tempests so extreme I felt like Ms. Frizzle driving the Magic School Bus underwater.

Shortly after we disembarked in good old Tuscaloosa, school started.

To be continued...

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